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Beating the Street Paperback – May 25, 1994

4.1 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Until retiring in 1990, Lynch ( One Up on Wall Street ) was manager of the spectacularly successful Fidelity Magellan Fund. Here he recalls with self-deprecating humor and disarming candor how he went about choosing winning stocks (and missing a few) for the $12 billion fund, which, during one five-year period in the 1980s, earned investors a 300% return. Lynch strongly favors stocks over other investment vehicles but insists that "investigative" research into a corporation's prospects, including credit checks and visits to the firm's installations, is essential. "Focus on companies, not the stocks," he stresses, adding that on this basis limited partnerships, banks and even S & Ls can be sound investments. Lynch's reputation and business writer Rothchild's deft touch should yield big sales for this inside story. Major ad/promo; first serial to Money magazine; BOMC and Fortune Book Club alternates; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Lynch is the master stock picker who led Magellan (until May 1990) to its position as America's biggest mutual fund. In One Up on Wall Street (Simon & Schuster, 1989), also written with Rothchild, he described his winning methods. Here, he provides a few more elaborations and 21 "Peter's principles." Some are overly clever, e.g., being first in line is a great idea except on the edge of a cliff. Lynch takes three chapters to explain how he "done it good" at Magellan. One valuable chapter details methods for picking a mutual fund from the thousands available, but most of the book is devoted to demonstrating his research into picking the 21 stocks he recommended in the January 1992 Barron's roundtable. Still, since the average investor will not get to talk to the CEO or visit the company in person, maybe we should all just buy Lynch's recommendations each year. A tossup. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/92.
- Alex Wenner, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Revised edition (May 25, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671891634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671891633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I wrote this review in the hope that you'll avoid the mistake I made.

I bought (and read) in reverse chronological order the first two books Mr. Peter Lynch wrote, "One Up On Wall Street" and "Beating The Street". I got "Beating The Street" before "One Up" because I have been misled by a favourable review of this book made by a well-known financial internet site (maybe they make money out of every book they help to sell?).

Imagine you have written an excellent book and you have sold one million copies of it. What would you do after that? Would your publisher push you to write another one? Wouldn't you write again to try and repeat the success?

I think this is what happened to Mr. Lynch. He wrote "One Up On Wall Street", which is an excellent book indeed (I published a few weeks ago a review of this book, where I explain why I warmly recommend it) and he sold over one million copies of it.

"Beating The Street" is, I presume, an attempt to profit from the success of the first book.

Problem is, "One Up" is a masterpiece: it explains very well Mr. Lynch's proven investing philosophy and methods. If so, what else to publish in a later book?

While "One Up" is a book that explains and recommends strategies, i.e. tells how to successfully pick winning stocks, "Beating The Street" is actually a book that picks stocks for you.

Remember, this book has been published in 1993. I believe it is easy to understand that, after so many years, the then cheaply valued companies recommended by Mr. Lynch may be fairly valued, overvalued, no longer in business, or taken private by now.

In my opinion, "Beating The Street" is now a poor and completely out of date book.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the "must read" books for anyone wanting to invest well, and gets 5 stars for that reason only. It is by and about Lynch and his legendary carreer @ Fidelity's Magellan Fund, and the period Lynch knocked the cover off the ball hitting home run after home run for a long string of years.

How did he do it? Well, several other reviews point out the difficulty of extracting Lynch's secret formula, and they rightly describe the lack of formulaic presentation. If there was a fabulous book on Lynch instead of this autobiographical one, I might put it on the "must read" list instead. There is not (yet, maybe Lowenstein will grace us with one?). However, too many fail in investing by looking for instant-coffee recipies that any boob can implement from the couch. If it was that simple, everyone would be rich. Success takes work and in-depth understanding of some, probably simple, strategies that ordinary investors can learn. In fact, investors who focus on fundamentals of the sort described by Lynch, & stay tuned out of the frenetic trading centers' "action," are likely to increase chances of success. The real beauty of Lynch's book is the myriad of different strategies, one or a few of which each of us can learn and implement as our investing "sweet spot."

Lynch covers a series of investment decisions in some detail. The detail is not uniform from company to company, position to position, making comparison of his formula difficult between investments. And he does not summarize his formula anywhere in the book. This oversight (which may be intentional to more quickly drop the instant-coffee addicts) leaves it up to the reader to digest the material and extract the essential focus of the master.
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Format: Paperback
Having worked on Wall Street I think this book is great and poor at the same time.
Great because
1) It is ideal to read for the casual to serious investor.
2) Some of Lynch's prominent themes like "Buy what you know" and investigating the companies that you buy are great strategies, especially for non-professionals.
3) He walks you through his thought process on numerous stocks in several industries, highlighting mistakes as well as successes. I found his various rules of thumb with respect to each industry (retail, restaurants, cyclicals) helpful
I say it is poor because Lynch himself used to buy and sell stocks frequently. So while he says "buy and hold" he did that, but he also traded the heck out of stocks he knew inside and out. When they got expensive, he would trim his position and when something got really cheap he would buy the heck out of it. This enabled him to compound his returns by a phenomenal amount
Lynch primarily invested in retail stocks. This was great as brand names and the "homogenization" of retail concepts via chain stores was sweeping the nation with the baby boom wave. However, most of that "easy money" was made along time ago. Current baby boom themes of biotech, health care, along with some financial service industry stuff is tougher to make money at and it doesn't grow as fast as retail. Well, biotech can but it is far riskier.
Lynch never talks about debt. The U.S. economy expanded in the 80's due to 1) heavy government spending, which created a huge national debt (2) consumer spending a ton of money and going into debt and (3) the entrepreneurial spirit. The government actually funded a lot of the developments we see today. The problem with this is that they have mortgaged the future to pay for past wealth creation.
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